Okay, I gave it 4 stars because I agree with the statement and I think I should encourage the dissemination of this message. Nevertheless, it is a very simple essay and its purpose is mostly to remind us that the goal is not yet reached, and that nations and populations are not at the same level of equity either. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table (hence the non-5 star), it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its value (hence the 4 star).
She talks from an African point of view: when I worked in Africa, I would often be ignored by our local partners who would address my male colleagues freely, even though I was technically in charge of the project and said colleagues. I sometimes had to remind them of who I was, dismissing all the local savoir-être. I sat in the front in cars. I would address people as equal. I would laugh. It didn’t always go well. It gave me perspective, on what the real fight was when it comes to feminism: it’s a fight for equal opportunities for all, not a way to justify my own discomfort with authority and control. If a man wants to pay my dinner, why not accept? I would accept it from a friend. But when people say that it is normal that some elderly woman’s daughter is taking care of her and not her son, because, you know, woman are more caring, that I don’t accept.
Adichie also brings up the question of heels, and makeup and girliness, issues that are still confusing to me. I think it is difficult to say that we were makeup and heels «for us» and not to adhere to a social norm for women. I would feel weird if my boyfriend started wearing makeup and heels on a day to day basis, and not as a one-time costume thing for Halloween. I admit it. I don’t think I’m alone. We still view these things as very female and so I wonder if continuing to embrace that, as women, even though we say that it is for us, breaks or strenghthens the stereotype.
If you think everthing I say is bullcaca, let me know. I believe discussion is the only way we can better ourselves.